Defence experts have deprecated the 'lack of coordination' in the handling of the terror strike at Pathankot air base and questioned the multiplicity of agencies involved in the operation that continued for the third day on Monday.
At the same time, the experts said there was no need to act in haste as the terrorists have now been ‘cornered’ and rushing things would increase casualties, which stand at seven defence personnel, including one Lieutenant Colonel of the National Security Guard.
They batted for better coordination between the Indian Air Force and the Army in guarding the air bases in case of exigencies like the one at Pathankot in Punjab.
"There is a lack of coordination. We have multiple agencies -- the NSG, Punjab police, Garud Commandos of the Air Force and the army involved in the operation. The army is well-equipped to handle such cases and this should have happened from day one, when the attack took place," said former army chief General V P Malik, who added that it was easier to fix accountability that way.
"The entire operation could have been handled better and the army should have been called in much before as the cantonment is next to the base," he added.
Malik felt that the security forces were 'complacent' in the initial stages of the operation, when attackers were killed on the first day, but noted that after sustaining the casualties, they would have become 'cautious'.
Lt Gen. (retd) H S Panag, former general officer commanding-in-charge, Northern Command, too, spoke about the need for better coordination and help from the army. He said that army infantry should have been deployed just when there was a security alert in order to protect the air base.
He also suggested that glaring lacunae existed in forces like Defence Security Corps, which is the first line of defence for guarding the air bases.
Voicing a similar opinion, Lt Gen. (retd) Raj Kadyan said there should have been a ‘single point command’ for dealing with the operation and the government has erred in following the Standard Operating Procedure, which gives army the charge of handling such a situation.